You don't have to go deep into the wilderness to experience the benefits of nature. We will hike and explore in the forest of Breithaupt Park. In addition to nature-based therapy and building life skills - we can learn other skills like outdoor photography, survival fort building, & slacklining. And, don't worry, we'll keep a safe social distance during our session.
*** UPDATE ***
If you are able to have your mental health needs met through video or phone based sessions please let us know. If you or someone that you have had contact with is experiencing any signs of flu or Covid19, you are required to notify your therapist and change your session to a video or phone based session. Thanks so much for your support in this!
What is this all about?
Instead of sitting in a counselling office, we're going to go for a hike. During our time together, we'll mix talking with different life skills exercises and practices. We will also spend time just enjoying being outside and in nature. What we talk about and what the session looks like is really up to you. We will work on your individual and family goals while paying attention to the feelings and stuff that is coming up for you during our time together.
During this time of rapid change and uncertainty, we know that things can feel overwhelming. This is a safe space to talk about what is going on and to learn skills for coping with stress. During our session, we will take all appropriate precautionary measures and practice safe social distancing. Also, if we can help connect you with other supports during this time please let us know!
While we are out in the woods, we can also build cool skills like outdoor photography and survival skills, like survival structure building. Immersing ourselves in nature is therapeutic in itself but it is even better when we can have fun and learn valuable skills along the way.
Brandon has developed this form of Adventure Therapy based on Nature Assisted Therapy techniques, emerging science around the benefits of natural settings, exercise, and conversation and mental health, mindfulness practices, and his background in guiding, leading hikes, and counselling outdoors. Brandon is a Certified Ontario Hike Leader and Wilderness First Responder.
How do I sign up?
You can book online to schedule a time that works with your schedule. If you have any trouble finding availability feel free to email and we can see if there is an option during a time that works for you.
Once you've signed up, keep on reading below to find answers to (hopefully) all of your questions.
What do I need to do before going?
The two forms you will need to complete for Get Out Adventure Therapy are:
1) Informed Consent Form (know what you’re signing up for)
2) Intake Form (help me get to know you)
These will be emailed to you after you book your session. Please fill these forms out at least 24 hours before your session. By filling these forms ahead of time, you ensure that we use our time together meaningfully and not just doing paperwork. It also allows us to plan ahead to make sure that you get what you want out of counselling
Where do I go?
We will meet in front of the Breithaupt Community Centre at 350 Margaret Avenue in Kitchener.
We will access the trails from that parking lot. There are washrooms available during most daytime hours. **Please note** Washrooms are not currently available so please plan accordingly.
How do I get I there?
There is parking by the Breithaupt Community Centre.
There is a bus stop right outside the Community Centre on Margaret Ave - Bus Route #4.
There are also bike racks to lock up your bike.
Please note, the trails in Breithaupt Park are unpaved and uneven. They are often muddy and include hills. If you have accessibility requirements please email us or contact your therapist with any accessibility questions.
What do I do when I arrive?
Please arrive at Breithaupt Park at least 10 minutes before your session begins - use this time to make sure you are dressed for the weather and use the washroom. You can use the washroom inside the community centre, which is open most daytime hours.
Please familiarize yourself with a photo of your therapist so you can recognize them easily. If you need to contact your therapist with any questions the day of session, please call their cell phone (you'll receive their number when you book your first session).
What should I wear and bring?
Please dress for the weather - as our session will take place no matter what the weather, as long as it is safe. It is generally recommended to dress in layers, as then you will have options as we hike. Wear your lightest layer closest to your skin and then add heavier layers. Please wear something water-resistant as your outermost layer. Please wear sturdy shoes (preferably water-resistant) if you have them (or boots if winter). Please note, the trails can be quite muddy. I have some shoe-covers, ice crampons, hiking poles, ponchos, and umbrellas if you need.
Please make sure you have a snack and water with you in a backpack if possible, as it is nice (and safer) to have hands free for our hike. I will have a backpack if you’d like to put small items inside.
Depending on the time of year, please bring bug-spray, and sunscreen depending on your needs.
You are required to bring all medications you may need, and to inform your therapist of what meds you require, and how they are administered in case of emergency.
Is it safe?
Brandon is a Wilderness First Responder, certified in First Aid and CPR, and a Certified Hike Leader in Ontario. Your safety though is still first your responsibility. Please familiarize yourself with our Informed Consent, and bring up any concerns or accommodations you require to ensure your own safety. Our Informed Consent Form, amongst other items, outlines the unique risks of Adventure Therapy including physical risks, interactions with wildlife and the public, and no guarantee of confidentiality in this form of therapy given the public spaces we use. You will be emailed the online links to these forms to be completed prior to your first session. You will also be required to cross roads possibly during some hikes, with your consent.
Unless it is unsafe, our session together will go ahead in all forms of weather! Ponchos, boot covers, and umbrellas available upon request. The reason we hike in all weather is that challenging and uncomfortable situations are often the moments where breakthroughs can happen. This is the time to practice life skills and conversations that can make a difference.
During our sessions, we will practice appropriate social distancing and hand hygiene. Please do not come to your session if you are ill or have been in close contact with someone who is ill. If you are unwell or have symptoms, we can cancel or conduct our session over the phone instead. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Brandon prior to your session.
In case of emergency, we are about 15 minute walk from the nearest road. It is important for you to speak with your healthcare provider to determine if hiking outside is safe for you to participate in. Please let Brandon know of any concerns you have, or accommodations we can take to make our time safer. In case of emergency, Brandon will determine the safest actions given the circumstances.
What will the session be like?
That’s up to us! Each client determines the pace of hiking, and is often given options as to what route they would like to take. There are multiple trails and paths for us to choose from. Some of our sessions
will have some structure to it, and some will feel more like a talk between friends. We will work on practices such as mindfulness, communication, breathing, decision making, and more. Being outside gives us the chance to spend time in nature and even take a few moments of silence on the trails.
We can also incorporate any of these optional activities - just let us know if you are interested!
Breithaupt Community Centre Trail Optional Activities:
Hike/Walk - just walk and talk about life.
Outdoor Photography - bring a cell phone and use a strategy inspired by PhotoVoice to talk about life
Intro to Slacklining - practice balancing on a tight rope suspended between two trees just over the ground, talk about balance in life, and see how far you can get!
2-Way Radio and Compass Workshop - practice using 2-way radios and a compass
Vegetable and Flower Planting - learn how to plant seeds, collect healthy soil, and bring home a vegetable or flower to watch grow at home
Rock Climbing Training and Conversation - get active, work on finger strength, practice some core exercises and talk about life for those of us who can't wait to get climbing again!
Mindfulness Skills Scavenger Hunt - see if you can find all 5 Mindfulness Skill Cards hidden in the park, and practice each one that you find
Survival Structure Building - practice building and using a small bundle of random objects with Brandon to create a structure that would keep you safe overnight.
During our session, there are spots where we can stop to have a drink, eat a snack, or just talk. There is also a covered pavilion where we can sit and talk if you don't feel up to hiking. We will try to return to the parking lot 5-10 minutes before the end of your session to debrief and take payment outside the community centre.
What about my parents/caregivers?
Parents/Caregivers are asked to allow this one-on-one time with Brandon to build trust and create space to talk about life with someone outside of the family unit if possible. Please remain close in case a check-in is needed. It is possible to wait in the parking lot, or walk on the nearby trails.
**Please Note** The community centre is temporarily CLOSED so there is no option to wait indoors at this time.
There are also optional caregiver written reflections, to write a letter to the youth during our sessions regarding the theme of the day (for example: reflecting on the youth’s strengths and abilities, etc). This can be a powerful experience for caregivers and youth alike.
What does it cost and how do I pay?
A 60 minute session costs $100-120 and a 90 minute session costs $160. The cost of your adventure therapy session may be covered under group insurance plans. Please talk to us for more information. Brandon is also connected with WSIB, the Victim Quick Response Program, and PROPEL amongst other third party groups.
Payment is required at the end of your session through a number of means. An E-transfer can be sent to email@example.com. Credit or debit cards can be presented in person, and you will only need to present your card once. All future sessions will be automatically and securely billed.
What if I can't make it?
Our cancellation policy is to give a full refund if the cancellation is done 48 hours or more in advance. Cancellations less than 48 hours prior to your session will be charged 50% of your fee. Cancellations less than 24 hours prior to your session will be charged 100% of your fee. Life happens, we know, so let us know if you need to reschedule and we will always try and work with you.
What do I need to do after my session?
Depending on if our physical activity is different than your normal physical exercise, you may feel sore the following day. Make sure to consult with your health care provider if you have any concerns, or have
experienced an injury during your session. Please inform your therapist if you have hurt yourself in any way during your session.
You are welcome to continue booking Adventure Therapy sessions at your convenience, and pending our availability. Please book online or email to set up our next session: firstname.lastname@example.org